Provocative, sophisticated and simply direct: sixteen poems about animals, wise, wry and short (none needs more than a two-page spread): Those familiar with ""Bats"" of Randall Jarrell, a lesser known bird, from E. E. Cummings, who ""sings till everywhere is here,"" and an elusive fox in Donald Finkel's ""Hunting Song"" who ""watched death go through him,/ Around him and over him. O/ He was Wise."" Kenneth Patchen has a self-proclaiming magical mouse who doesn't eat cheese, wear fur or fear cats, who insists ""I do as I please/ Always."" Anticipate squirms after Marianne Moore's Jellyfish: ""your arm/ approaches and it opens/ and it closes; you had meant/ to catch it and it quivers;/ you abandon your intent."" Theodore Roethke has an ""Ex-as-per-at-ing Lug"" of a sloth who, when told his manner is smug, will go off to sleep again, ""And you just know he knows he knows."" Also, Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Stanley Kunitz, John Crowe Ransom, William Jay Smith, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Yvor Winters, and a stunning magic carpet from Theodore Weiss, the editor's husband: ""The butterfly is O flutter by/ a Persian wrapt and driven/ by a drunken driver/ . . .Never mistake its zigzag flight:/ itself is where it wants/to go."" The illustrations, in green and orange, are too bright and busy up close, better seen from a distance. Like Cats and Bats and Things with Wings, for individuals, not age levels.